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Builder in court over life-threatening roof fall

9 April 2013

A Merseyside builder has appeared in court after an employee suffered life-threatening injuries when he fell from the roof of a terraced house.

The 48-year-old from Wallasey, who does not want to be named, landed head first on the tarmac path outside the front door of the house on St Winifred Road in Wallasey on 2 August 2012. His skull was split open causing a severe bleed on his brain.

His employer, Scott Davies, was today (9 April 2013) prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found the scaffolding tower was incomplete and unsafe, and that there was inappropriate protection for the edge of the roof.

Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Davies, who trades as Merseyside Roofing Solutions, had been hired to repair a flat roof over a bay window, repair damaged roof tiles and fit new guttering at the three-bedroom end-terrace house.

His employee was working on the roof when he slipped down a sloping section and off the unprotected edge, falling more than six metres to the ground below. As well as sustaining severe head injuries, he also suffered crushed vertebra and prolapsed discs in his back, a broken collar bone, and shoulder and nerve damage.

He was in hospital for several weeks and will never work again due to the extent of his injuries. He still suffers fits and is waiting to have a metal plate fitted to his skull.

The court was told Mr Davies did not have any Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance at the time of the incident. This means the injured worker will be unable to make a claim for compensation from an insurance company.

Scott Davies, 39, pleaded guilty to separate breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. Mr Davies, of Rowson Street in New Brighton, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service in the next 12 months, and to pay prosecution costs of £3,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Baker said:

"The worker sustained horrific life-changing injuries and could easily have been killed.

"Scott Davies was in charge of the work, but he failed to put in place suitable safety measures. The scaffolding tower was unsafe and there was no barrier around the roof to prevent workers falling to the ground below.

"The injured worker’s injuries mean he will never be able to return to work, and will need support for the rest of his life.

"Sadly Mr Davies’ decision not to get insurance, despite it being a legal requirement, means that the worker will be unable to make an insurance claim for compensation."

Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry in Great Britain. Information on improving safety is available at

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."
  3. Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 states: "Every employer carrying on any business in Great Britain shall insure, and maintain insurance, under one or more approved policies with an authorised insurer or insurers against liability for bodily injury or disease sustained by his employees, and arising out of and in the course of their employment in Great Britain in that business."

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